There have now been more than 500 laboratory-confirmed cases of Cyclospora infections linked to bagged salads sold at several major grocery store chains, according to federal health officials.
The CDC has traced the current outbreak back to bagged salad mixes containing iceberg lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage produced by Fresh Express at its facility in Streamwood, Illinois.
This week, the FDA began an inspection at the Streamwood facility and the CDC and FDA are working to determine which of the ingredients in the salad mix may have been contaminated with Cyclospora and whether other products are a source of illnesses.
Cyclospora is a parasite that can cause severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, body aches and fatigue. The infection is treated with antibiotics and most people respond quickly to treatment.
In late June, Fresh Express recalled Fresh Express brand and private label brand salad products produced at the facility. According to the CDC, the recalled products were distributed to 30 states and sold under either the Fresh Express brand name or the store brand labels ALDI Little Salad Bar, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco Signature Farms, ShopRite Wholesome Pantry, and Walmart Marketside.
The Fresh Express recall includes products marked with the letter “Z” at the beginning of the Product Code, followed by the number “178” or lower.
As of Wednesday, the CDC reported a total of 509 confirmed cases across 8 states: Illinois (151), Iowa (160), Kansas (5), Minnesota (63), Missouri (46) Nebraska (48), North Dakota (6), and Wisconsin (30).
So far, 33 people have been hospitalized. All the reported illness happened between May 11 and July 1, according to the CDC.
Those who have gotten sick told health officials the salad mixes they ate were purchased from ALDI, Hy-Vee, Jewel-Osco, and Walmart stores in the Midwest.
Additionally, the Public Health Agency of Canada said it has identified 37 confirmed cases of Cyclospora illness in Canada linked to the Fresh Express salad outbreak.
Consumers should throw out all recalled salad products, even if some of it has been eaten and no one has gotten sick yet.